Q. What are the advantages of hiring a
professional for my wedding?
A. A professional photographer will be timely -
arriving at your wedding promptly, and getting the results to you on
time. A professional has just the right equipment for photographing
your wedding. Having attended many weddings, an experienced wedding
photographer will be at ease at your wedding. A professional uses a
color laboratory that is in the business of meeting high
professional standards of print quality. And, a professional is used
to working with individuals, couples, and groups to make the formal
photography go smoothly. When you think about the cost of
photography, remember that the photographer's fee is only part of
your investment: You, your parents, your extended family and your
friends will be investing time with the photographer during your
wedding. Don't waste time on your wedding day with a photographer
who won't produce results you love!
Q. So, I want a professional to photograph my
wedding. What do I do next?
A. Visit wedding photography web sites, then
choose photographers to call. Emailing is not personal enough for
wedding photography. If you like the photographer on the phone, go
visit his/her studio. When looking through sample albums pay
attention to your emotional response to the photography and to the
communication skills of the photographer. Look for high technical
quality too. Once you have decided on a photographer whose work has
meaning to you, discuss prices, deposits, packages, and quantity of
pictures and so on.
Q. What is the first question I should ask the
A. Once you have established that the
photographer is available for your date and location, you will want
to ask, "If we select your studio, will you be the photographer
covering our wedding?" Some studios have several photographers and
you may be speaking to a salesperson. Photographers who do not even
work for the studio anymore may have done the sample albums. If this
is the case, you should make arrangements to meet with and see the
work of the particular photographer who will be doing your wedding.
You should also ask for a commitment from the studio to that effect,
Q. Shouldn't I be asking "What do I get and
how much does it cost?"
A. Even shopping for shoes or furniture you
wouldn't ask that question until you find the style and quality you
like. After you have looked through a photographer's portfolio -
seeing candids, formals and illustrative pictures, you will know if
this photographer has the technique, style and spirit to be the eyes
through which you and your children will see your wedding day. Of
course, you should determine if the photographer is within your
budget, give or take a little, but what you really want from
photography is memories and feeling. Look for an established and
reliable photographer whose work moves you, whose technical quality
is tops. If you find a photographer who makes you happy, you never
will regret your investment, whatever the dollar cost. When we have
invested in items that will be with us for the rest of our lives,
our satisfaction has been highest when we have paid that extra bit
for the best quality.
Q. So, how much does wedding photography cost?
Prices range from $950 to $10,000, and even more! Photographs (and
maybe video) will be your only permanent record of the day. You want
good photographs (or you would not have read so far), so be prepared
to spend a minimum of $1,500 for a small wedding on a weekday or
Sunday, and $2,500 and up for Saturdays. Also, for additional
copies, an 8x10 reprint will cost $20 to $50 each. Expect better
photographers to charge the higher rates. If you are looking for a
bargain and shop via phone for pricing, you are following a recipe
for poor to mediocre photography. Research indicates that
photography runs between nine and fifteen percent of the total
When couples value photography
highly and are on a limited budget, they will spend up to 30% of
their wedding budget on photography. Most brides initially
underestimate the cost of photography by 50% - in other words, you
will probably spend at least twice as much as you budgeted, unless
you have advice from a wedding coordinator who is familiar with
prices in your area.
Q. We're having a small wedding, with thirty
people, and only wanted to spend $1,500 on pictures. What can we do?
The first thing to do if you want a professional photographer under
these circumstances is to be flexible. A true wedding professional
only can only work so many weekends a year, and reasonably expects
one or two large weddings per weekend from May through October, or
year round in tropical climates. If he/she reserves a prime Saturday
in October for you, then larger weddings will have to be turned
away. If your budget is small, you will be choosing from the second
and third tiers of wedding photographers. If you plan your wedding
in the evening or especially early in the day, you might find a
photographer who can fit you in after or before another event, and
thus be able to work with your budget.
Unfortunately, when you are
limiting yourself to a smaller photo budget you can expect lower
Q. How much time will the photographer spend
at my wedding?
A. That is really up to you. You can have the photographer meet you
where you are getting dressed, and keep taking pictures until you
leave the reception. Or you may just want a few hours of
photography, with a few formal photographs and some pictures of the
ceremony. (If you choose a high quality professional, the price
difference between short and full coverage will be small.)
Typically, coverage starts two or three hours before the ceremony
and ends after the bouquet, garter and cake.
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